My wellness perspective as a pediatrician.
The field of pediatrics has evolved over the last 100 years from focusing primarily on the impact of infectious diseases, poor sanitation, and injuries on the health of infants, children, and adolescents. In the early 1900’s many infants, children, and youth in the United States died from pneumonia, dehydration, tuberculosis, vaccine preventable diseases, and accidents.
Over the past decades we have been able to improve the health of infants, children and youth through creation of vaccines, better safety policies and improvement in sanitation processes.
In the early 1990’s the focus of pediatrics started to shift and there were several references to what we then considered the “new” causes of diseases, illnesses, and death in our youth. (1). These were conditions associated with accidents, risk taking, violence, substance abuse and behavioral/mental health concerns. Recently, the Covid pandemic has led to a surge in the number of mental health issues. Today a major part of pediatric practice now addresses mental health, social issues, behavioral problems, and developmental difficulties.
In my decades of practice, I have had a front row seat to these changes as parent’s concerns shifted from fevers, sore throats, wheezing and ear infections to behavioral health issues, anxiety, and depression. After years of sitting with parents and caregivers desperately searching for guidance, I realized that providing knowledge alone on healthy lifestyles does not impact the complex issues facing our youth.
It is my perception that there is a missing link to addressing the whole child in the traditional medical system. We have provided many resources to develop and heal the mind and body but have not sufficiently addressed the spirit; the beliefs of the individual/family and incorporated into medical decision making. Additionally scientific research has demonstrated the significance of the impact of unhealthy relationships and toxic stress on the body and mind. Addressing these elements contributes to providing the resilience factor for our youth and teens (the ability to bounce back after adversities). This website will provide resources and tools that address important aspects of the healing process that include resources for spiritual wellness, relational wellness, emotional wellness and stress health.
Certain statements are timeless. In the words of Frederick Douglass (Civil Rights Activist)-from 1855. “It is easier to build strong children then to repair broken men”.
1. The New Morbidity Revisited. American Academy of Pediatrics-Psychosocial Committee. 2001, Pediatrics, pp. 108(5):1227-30. American Academy of Pediatrics-Psychosocial Committee. 2001, Pediatrics, pp. 108(5):1227-30.